Ebb Tide (The Wire)

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"Ebb Tide"
The Wire episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 1
Directed by Ed Bianchi
Story by David Simon
Ed Burns
Teleplay by David Simon
Original air date June 1, 2003 (2003-06-01)
Running time 58 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Collateral Damage"
List of The Wire episodes

"Ebb Tide" is the first episode of the second season of the HBO original series, The Wire. The episode was written by David Simon, from a story by Simon and Ed Burns, and was directed by Ed Bianchi.[1] It originally aired on June 1, 2003.


A few months after his reassignment to the Baltimore Police's marine unit, Jimmy McNulty discovers a female corpse with broken legs floating in the harbor. He visits Homicide and checks in with Sergeant Jay Landsman. McNulty learns that Colonel William Rawls has passed the case off to Baltimore County because the body was found east of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. McNulty studies tide charts as he attempts to prove where the body was dumped into the water; he types up a report and faxes it to the county homicide unit. Rawls and Landsman immediately realize McNulty's involvement when the case is passed back to them.

Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski meets with his father-in-law, Major Stan Valchek, wishing to stay in Narcotics and work cases like the recent Barksdale investigation. Valchek instead wants Prez to progress through the ranks. At Narcotics, Kima Greggs is working at her desk job and Thomas "Herc" Hauk has returned to street cases. Greggs and her romantic partner, Cheryl, discuss possible fathers for artificial insemination along with Greggs' job dissatisfaction. Bunk Moreland visits McNulty to ask if he can help him locate Omar Little for the upcoming murder trial of Barksdale soldier Marquis "Bird" Hilton. Bunk later has a chance meeting with Lieutenant Cedric Daniels, now in charge of the evidence room. That evening, Bunk again asks McNulty for help locating Omar, but to no avail.

Bodie Broadus drives to Philadelphia with another Barksdale drug dealer, Sean "Shamrock" McGinty. Bodie is enraged when the car he has collected is devoid of any narcotics and worries over informing his superiors. Stringer Bell, who now leads the Barksdale Organization while Avon Barksdale is imprisoned, reveals that he had Bodie and Shamrock followed. Bodie is later seen running a corner crew. Stringer visits Avon in prison, telling him that the Barksdales' connection with New York, Roberto, failed to deliver the product which Bodie was sent to collect. Stringer later learns that Roberto was arrested by the DEA and was concerned that Avon implicated him in exchange for a lighter prison sentence. Stringer is assured that his funds are being returned to him, but the New York suppliers no longer feel safe dealing with the Barksdales.

Frank Sobotka, the treasurer of a stevedores union, meets with fellow union leader Nat Coxson, who is angry that the Baltimore grain pier is still in a state of disrepair. Frank later tells his nephew Nick to see someone named "The Greek" about a shipping container they have coming in. Frank confronts his son Ziggy over losing a container. Later, he visits a church where he has donated a stained glass window and asks the priest, Father Lewandowski, to set up a meeting with Senator Barbara Mikulski to discuss difficulties at the docks. Valchek delivers his own window to the church, but is angry that Frank's union beat him to it.

At Delores' bar, the rest of the stevedores riotously discuss days gone by. Ziggy shows off and exposes himself while standing on a table. The following morning, Nick is met by Ziggy and Johnny Fifty on his way to meet with "The Greek" about the container, and tells Frank that their cut will be the same. Frank and Thomas "Horseface" Pakusa are dismayed when Sergei "Serge" Malatov, The Greek's lieutenant, leaves the container sitting on the dock for several hours. When they insist that he get on with things, Serge drives away. Frank orders Horseface to "lose" the container in the stack, so as to make it less conspicuous. Later, Port Authority officer Beadie Russell stumbles across the container and notices the broken customs seal. She finds the bodies of over a dozen young women inside and calls for backup. Frank and the stevedores gather around as the police arrive.[2][3][4]


Starring cast[edit]

Paul Ben Victor, Clarke Peters, Amy Ryan and Chris Bauer are all new additions to the opening credits this season. Despite his credit Clarke Peters does not appear in this episode. Credited stars Seth Gilliam, Frankie Faison, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Deirdre Lovejoy and Andre Royo do not appear in this episode.

Guest stars[edit]

First appearances[edit]

The Port[edit]

  • Frank Sobotka: International Brotherhood of Stevedores local 1514 checker's union secretary treasurer at the Baltimore port who is smuggling contraband to finance his political campaign to rejuvenate the docks.
  • Nick Sobotka: Local 1514 stevedore and nephew of Frank Sobotka who acts as a messenger in his smuggling operation.
  • Ziggy Sobotka: Son of Frank Sobotka and an incompetent stevedore at the port with aspirations of becoming a feared criminal.
  • Horseface: Longstanding Polish Baltimore port checker and friend of Frank Sobotka who handles all of their smuggled containers.
  • Nat Coxson: African American local 1514 stevedores union president who worries about Frank's surge in income.
  • Ott: Senior African American stevedore, often found drinking at Delores' bar, who is set to replace Frank at the next election.
  • Little Big Roy: Imposing Polish senior port stevedore who is often found drinking at Delores' bar.
  • Chess: Large, bearded, senior, African American stevedore at Delores' bar.
  • Moonshot: Smaller, bearded, senior, African American stevedore at Delores' bar.
  • New Charles: Bald headed African American Stevedore.
  • Big Roy: Long haired young Stevedore at Delores' bar.
  • Johnny "Fifty" Spamanto: Young Baltimore port checker and friend to Nick and Ziggy Sobotka.
  • La La: Younger African American Baltimore Port checker and friend to Nick Sobotka.
  • Delores: Owner of the bar frequented by local 1514 union members.
  • Joan Sobotka: Nick Sobotka's mother and Frank's sister-in-law.

The Greeks[edit]

Law Enforcement[edit]

Barksdale organization[edit]

  • Sean "Shamrock" McGinty AKA Dragon: Barksdale crew lieutenant who drives Bodie to Philadelphia and is Stringer Bell's new second in command.
  • Country: Recently paroled Barksdale soldier who tails Bodie to Philadelphia.
  • Tank: Barksdale soldier who accompanies Country.
  • Puddin: Bodie's second at his new tower drug dealing operation.
  • Rico: Barksdale enforcer who acts as security at the funeral home.


  1. ^ "The Wire season 2 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  2. ^ "Episode guide - episode 14 ebb tide". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  3. ^ David Simon, Ed Burns (2003-06-01). "Ebb Tide". The Wire. Season 2. Episode 01. HBO. 
  4. ^ Alvarez, Rafael (2004). The Wire: Truth Be Told. New York: Pocket Books. 

External links[edit]